Isenjyr

THE ISENJYR

Isati, Goddess of Fate and Destiny
Vald, Father of the Valdar
Eyvindir Skyblade, The Guiding Star
Tharagrim Skyblade, Defender of the Valdar
Bergdis Deathguide, Guardian of the Dead
Hersir Stormcaster, Bringer of Tempests
Aedstrid Goldenhair, The Shield Maiden
Bjormund Fellspear, Warden of the Woods
Ebenskald Longstrider, The Lone Walker
Isrod Sunchaser, The Light Bringer
Jammer Hammerhand, The Iron Forger
Jeron Bloodsword, The Giant Slayer
Lutherik Lightthief, The Light Thief
Shalok Orcslayer, The Destroyer
Shandell Redtooth, Thegn of Thegns

THE AGE OF ICE

Long ago there was a war between the Titans, huge beings of incredible strength and power, and the Duervar, short and robust warriors who lived beneath the earth. The Duervar and their gods eventually defeated most of the Titans, but Titan finally raised the strength to challenge the Duervan Empire. This was Olginthoth, Titan Lord of Ice. He created a terrible glacier, called Thothgald, which spread from the north, down and over the entire world. It split the earth and sundered the Duervan Empire. Thus began the Age of Ice.

Snow blanketed the world and only the most endurable plants and animals survived. Isen, the Titan who froze the seas, fathered the Nordil, the Ice Giants, and they marched upon the Duervar. The Duervar were paralyzed by the terrible cold and were forced to retreat into the earth. The harsh cold grew worse over the centuries that passed and eventually the great glacier descended over most of the world. The ice split the earth and collapsed many of the Duervan Halls. In those dark times the Duervar of different strongholds could barely communicate with one another, and eventually, over mellenia, they began to forget even where all their great halls had once been.

The Duervan Gods battled the Titans as often as they could, but the Ice Age hindered them greatly. Eventually Magmodin, fore-god of the Duervar, came to his brother Vald and asked his aid in battling Isen and the Nordil. Vald agreed and joined Morak, the Duervan war god, who led a great army into the icy reaches of the north where they battled Olginthoth together. In the end the they were victorious, and Olginthoth was frozen into the very ice he had commanded. Isen and the Nordil retreated into the heart of Thothgald, to a place called Nordilheim.

It would be over a millennium before the Ice would recede. Though the Nordil were driven back into the frozen north, the Age of Ice had taken its toll, sundering the Duervan Empire.

THE CHILDREN OF VALDAN

After defeating the Nordil, Vald began to free the land in the north. He uncovered a great peninsula of earth with tall icy mountains and decided he would populate this land with his own children. He called this land Valderheim. Then Isati, the Elder Goddess of Fate and Destiny, came to him and together they bore their own mortal children on the world, the Valdar. The Valdar were nothing when compared physically to the Nordil, but they were ambitious warriors with both wisdom and courage. They were handsome and imposing. None was more than half the height of a giant, but through their great strength and skill at arms they were a match for any giant.

Isen was greatly angered when he saw the lands that once his people ruled now populated by a race both weaker and smaller than his own. He left his castle and came over the Ice to battle Vald. The fight was long and hard, for Isen brought with him a horde of giants and there were not many of the Valdar to aid in the battle. In the end Vald was defeated and Isen devoured him. Vald’s spirit ascended from the Mortal Realm into the Eternal Realm called ??? and there his spirits resides in his Golden Hall.

Isen went on to make the Valdar suffer under his foot. However, the Valdar fought back. In time their numbers had grown, and when there were enough, an army of their greatest warriors stood against Isen on the field of battle. They fought long and hard against him and many scores of them died, their spirits joining Vald in the Golden Hall. In the end the Titan Isen was slain and fell to the earth to become a great mountain range, the Isendar. As he died, the remaining heroes drank his blood as wine and became gods themselves, taking the name of the Isenjyr—the Bane of Isen. They drove the last of the Nordil out of Valderheim and across the Eastern Ocean. Then they gave Valderheim to the mortal Valdar and went over the ice to drive the remaining giants and lesser titans out of Nordilheim.

Thus was created the race called the Valdar, and as the millennia passed since they were fathered their blood has thinned. Those born now are not nearly as tall as their ancestors, but are still strong and skilled at war. They also still fight the Nordil to this day, who fled across the western seas to lands unknown and come time and time again to the land of Valderheim to try to retake their homeland.

The Isenjyr

The Isenjyr live in the realm of Nordilheim, a kingdom far to the north at the center of Thothgald, the great glacier. Their great hall is called Isengar. Supposedly there is only one way to reach this realm, and that is to take a long boat through a long and dangerous tunnel that flows under the ice cap in the northern Sea of Aegis. This has supposedly happened only twice in their history.

The Isenjyr are gods of nature, battle and courage. They prize above all things physical prowess, wisdom and mastery of the land and sea.

Priests and Lore Keepers

The priests of the Isenjyr are considered Rune Casters. They keep a written history of their people and etch the commands and philosophies of the Isenjyr on stone. The priests are independent of the Thegns. They support them, but they answer only to the Isenjyr. Rune Casters learn their runes from other rune casters, but also from Elakyr. When a Rune Caster seeks to learn a rune not known by another rune caster or there simply isn't another Rune Caster around who knows the secret, they turn to prayer and supplication. They offer burnt offerings to the Isenjyr and pray for them to give knowledge. At that time The Isenjyr send an Elakyr to pass on that knowledge

Skalds keep an oral history through storytelling and songs. Every Thegn, their rulers, has at least one Skald.

The Elakyr
The Elakyr are great female warriors, beautiful thin and excellent in skill, who serve the gods. The Elakyr serve as intermediaries between the Isenjyr and the Valdar. They are messengers for the Gods, teachers of Rune Casting, and they are escorts for the souls of the dead. They drive men with valor and courage in battle and take the souls of fallen warriors across the sky to Nordilheim where they will reside in the halls of Isengar.

The War with the Giants

The glorious war of the Isenjyr over the Giants was in time immemorial, and the centuries have seen the fortunes of the Valdar take a turn for the worse. The Giants took advantage of the Isenjyr’s remoteness to build great war-vessels and exact their vengeance. Countless wars and the unforgiving nature of Valderheim eventually made the Valdar too weak to make true war on the Giants. Since then (and as long as the Valdar are unable to deny them by force of arms), their ancient foes have returned with the coming of Woryk to extract pleasure by raiding their one-time homeland. They also exact a cruel tribute: the heirs of each Thegn of Valderheim. This in turn guarantees a period of strife and war as rival clans fight to determine which warlord will become the new Thegn—since blood lineage has been broken.
Why are the Valdar in the situation they are in? The answer is really quite simple, and has to do with two factors—one mortal in origin, the other divine. First, the Valdar are not united as a people. There are less than ten Thegns, but none of them have been able to unite the clans of their people. The Valdar are very proud people who answer to a cult of personality defined by personal heroics and achievements. Due in large part to the royal blood tribute the Giants exact each 80 year cycle, no one Thegn in centuries has stood enough apart from the pack to capture the imagination of all the Valdar and bring under his domain the rest of his peers. Without such a leader, the other Thegns would never stoop so low as to simply fall under one of their rivals. Thus, the Valdar are unable to amass a host that can defy the Giant Kings from across the seas. They remain a collective of small realms, ultimately weak in the face of their enemy.

Second, the Isenjyr will not interfere. Though each of the Valdar deities, Eyvindir, Hersir, and Aestrid especially, chafe at the opportunity to act, the Isenjyr pantheon is—at its core—one beholden to the fates dictated by Isati. The Elder Goddess demands that mortals adhere to their fate and destiny. As always, the mortals can change their own destinies, but none of Isati’s children may use their divine power to affect them. Thus, unless the Nordil themselves make war on the Valdar, the Isenjyr will not fight the Valdars’ battles for them. Until their mortal followers find one amongst them who can unite the Valdar against the Giants, they will continue to suffer.

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